From the Vault...


The Essex
"The Best Of The Essex"

© Sequel Records

Year of Release: 1993

track listing
  • Easier Said Than Done
  • Wherever I Need
    My Baby
  • Where Is He
  • Every Night
  • I Love Her
  • Come On To My Party
  • A Walkin' Miracle
  • She's Got Everything
  • More Than It Would Help
  • Marriage License
  • In My Dreams
  • You Talk To Much
  • There's No Fool
    Like A Young Fool
  • Where There's A Will
    (There's A Way)
  • Make Him Feel
    Like A Man
  • Don't Fight It Baby
  • When Somethin's
    Hard To Get
  • Just For The Boy
  • I'm Making It Over
  • Everybody's Got You
    (For Their Own)
  • Be My Baby
  • Be Sure
  • When The Music Stops
  • Real True Lover

  • WSVNRadio Archives
    A B C D E F G H I J K L M
    N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    The Essex related sites:
    The Essex Website
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    Eddie Rabbitt--Classics Collection
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    Jennifer Lopez--J To That Lo! The Remixes
    The Essex
    "The Best Of The Essex"

    The Essex -- Best known for their #1 hit, "Easier Said Than Done" (1963). Lead by singer Anita Humes, The Essex was a quartet of singers, 1 female, and 3 male. Humes was the lead singer of all their songs. And some would think their #1 hit was a one-hit-wonder. Not true, as this 24-track The Best Of The Essex provides an excellent set of music. This set is truly amazing, as many of the songs were not as popular as "Easier," but they could have, easily.

    The Best Of The Essex has great liner notes on the group's history. (Written by Malcolm Baumgart and Mick Patrick, September 1994).

    The Essex was formed of members of the United State Marine Corps. It began with Walter Vickers (singer/guitarist, from New Brunswick, New Jersey), Rodney Taylor (singer/drummer, from Gary, Indiana. Added members later on were vocalists Billie Hill from Princeton, New Jersey and Randolph Johnson from New York City. Johnson also played guitar. As the group's popularity grew, they added vocalist Anita Humes, from Harrisburgh, Pennsylvania. With Humes' vocals, The Essex sound became their own.

    As the reception of their performing became popular, they cut a rough demo, which caught the attention at Roulette Records. The Essex (now a quintet) had to wait to audition, due to their Marine duties. Finally, in March, 1963, they arrived at Roulette, and impressed the record label's executives. They had one song, which was written by fellow Marine William Linton. The song was "Easier Said Than Done." Immediately after the song made its way on the charts, The Essex was working on their first album. Seven of the twelve tracks were written by the various combinations of the group, and by William Linton. One of the songs was "I Love Her," written by Walter Vickers. In August, 1963, their album was on the charts, and unfortunately, member Rudolph Johnson was stationed in Okinawa before the album was released. The group now became a quartet.

    Shortly after their album charted, they were working on new songs. One of them (and a song that I do remember) was "A Walkin' Miracle." It was just short of the Top 10, as other female dominated groups (or girl groups they were called) were in The Essex's way: The Angels, The Vandellas, The Jaynetts, The Crystals, and The Ronettes. Of course, later in the year, and the following, four lads from Liverpool would take over, and the rest, they say is History.

    Their next single was "She's Got Everything," and by now, (as "A Walkin' Miracle") the group's name was included Anita Humes: "The Essex featuring Anita Humes." Some songs were credited as "Anita Humes," then back to the original name, "The Essex." There was no story on how the other male members felt about the name changes.

    Their second album, A Walkin' Miracle was released in October, 1963. The album didn't chart, likewise their third album, released in January, 1964, Young And Lively. The Beatles had dominated the music scene at this time. Throughout the years 1964 to 1967, their music output was never fully looked upon. They were discharged from the services, and no longer wore their uniforms, as they were best known for.

    Three of the tracks from 1964 are here on this Best Of: "Don't Fight It Baby" (written by Van McCoy, would would have his fame in the 1970s with his Disco smash, "The Hustle."), "When Somethin's Hard To Get," (written by Al Kooper and Irwin Levine), and the Charles Koppelman/Don Rubin track "Just For The Boy."

    By 1965, the quartet was a now trio, and only two songs were recorded: "When The Music Stops," and "Real True Lover." Roulette prety much had abandonded The Essex now, as they would return in 1967 on a new label, Bang Records. One song from the summer of that year was from Roulette, "Everybody's Got You." By this time, Roulette's label was dominated by a new talent, Tommy James & The Shondells.

    Some extra added tracks include their version of The Ronettes' "Be My Baby," a very well-done recording. "Be Sure" was an outtake, as both songs were from their album Young And Lively sessions.

    Malcolm Baumgart and Mick Patrick's liner notes does not state whatever happened to Anita Humes and the remaining members of The Essex, yet Wikipedia has the answers. In 1966 Rodney Taylor was killed in New York City from a mugging incident. Anita Humes released solo recordings for Roulette Records, yet they did not have any chart success. She died in on May 30, 2010, in Harrisburgh, Pennsylvation, at the age of 69.

    Only three albums were recorded by The Essex, Easier Said Than Done, A Walkin' Miracle, Young And Lively. Their vinyl albums are collectors items. The Best Of The Essex from Sequel Records is a FANTASTIC set of songs by a group that would have easily been more popular, given their moments. Unfortunately, this was not the case, as The Beatles took over the world in 1964. But for the Oldies fan, this collection of songs will easily impress you, and you have to consider, if The Beatles hadn't come around, yes, these songs by The Essex would have seen Top 10 status, maybe even further than that. "Easier Said Than Done" and "A Walkin' Miracle" are most likely the standout tracks, and most easiest songs to remember, as they became huge hits before Beatlemania. But the remaining tracks are quite a listen. Anita Humes had a strong voice, a great voice. She definitely stands out, and could have easily been another huge singer, like her other fellow females in the music business. All the tracks here on The Best Of The Essex are gifted, and will be enjoyed by all.

    © All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Sequel Records and is used for reference purposes only.

    Previous Review: #1477
    Eddie Rabbitt--Classics Collection
    Next Review: #1479
    Jennifer Lopez--J To That Lo! The Remixes